February 21, 2018
Our morning began well before the sun rose with a wake-up call of 4:30 a.m. We said good-bye to Gokhan our tour guide these last few days and boarded a plane to Istanbul. We were greeted by our new guide Holcom and a brief ride into the old city of Istanbul. We visited the site of the ancient hippodrome and saw the Egyptian obelisk for Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) that was brought from the Karnak Temple to Istanbul by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4th century AD. Next, we visited the Blue Mosque after removing our shoes and women borrowed blue scarves for a head covering. This mosque, still in use today, is filled with glass lanterns, red carpet and hand painted blue mosaics on the walls. It was built by Sultan Ahmed in the 1600’s. Right across the square is Hagia Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek. It was built as a Christian church in 537 AD, then in 1453 it served as an Ottoman mosque and is now a museum.
February 20, 2018
We have conquered many ancient ruins on this journey throughout Asia Minor, and as we trace the footsteps of one our finest role models, encouragement abounds. Our day today started at Priene, a quaint ancient town from around 400BC tucked away in the hills. This place consisted of all the ancient ruin staples: theater, agora, synagogue, temple (to Athena, which naturally drops jaws), roadways, and more. Alexander the Great, in his conquests to Hellenize the region, took up residency in this town for a short while. As we walk through the church, synagogue, and temple – we are reminded of the audience Paul was reaching and the difficulties he must have faced – the clash of Jewish tradition and God-fearing Gentile believers, mixed with the culture of the times tempting new believers to compromise.
February 19, 2018
Ahhh, today was the day for Ephesus! A place of magic for the pagans; a place of miracles for the Christians. With each step we seemed to walk back in time as we strolled down Curetes Street, marveling at everything before us. Might it have been just a little intimidating for the early Christians living in this city of 300,000 people, most of them paying homage to their patron deity Artemis? The midway of shops, the seven excavated homes with their exquisite mosaics, the temples, and of course, the magnificent library. What a sight! For us, though, knowing we were walking in the footsteps of the disciples is what got us going.
February 18, 2018
Today is Sunday February 18,2018. Today is the day that the Lord has made indeed. As we continue to travel with new found friends, we are reminded of the richness of the biblical history we are immersed in and the lessons we can learn from the context of the actual locations of the scripture we are studying.
February 17, 2018
Today was our first real day of winter in Turkey. Very little sunlight, chilly wind but absolutely beautiful landscape where ever you look. We first started off in Sardis. Sardis located in Manisa Providence was on of the cities of the Persian empire.
A 1500 mile long Roman Road was made to reach the Aegean Sea, this made it possible for commerce to practice in trade. Sardis was advance in their manufacturing industry; we saw many ruin shops including some for making paint, creating hardware, dyeing fabric etc. These are only some of the things that were great for trade.
February 16, 2018
This morning we were treated to the fairly recent (1955) and accidental discovery of the old city of Aphrodisias built in the second century AD to honor Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Thanks to the continuing excavation and reconstruction provided by New York University, we can now see clearly much of the impressive amphitheater which could seat 15,000 and stage performing arts of all kinds. The agora or marketplace, which is still being restored, features an elongated pool down the center as long as a football field. The stadium is massive, able to seat over 30,000 people, and hosted gladiator games and multiple sports activities.
February 15, 2018
After breakfast at our hotel, the Pamukkale Richmond Thermal, we headed out to the bus. Gökhan told us to get ready for a long drive of, oh, five minutes to our first site. After four hours or so on the bus yesterday, that was welcome news. So we spilled out at the archaeological site of Hieropolis–literally, “temple city”– relatively fresh and ready for the day.
Hieropolis, in the province of Asia, overlooks the Lycus river valley. Across the valley there is a string of snow-covered peaks, and we had a spectacular view of these all through the day. We entered the site at the north end, walking through the largest necropolis (“city of the dead”) that has been excavated in all of Turkey. Gökhan taught us to recognize the three types of tombs found here. The smallest of these were sarcophagi, stone boxes weighing a ton or two to hold one’s earthly remains. There were also house-shaped tombs, for those who found a sarcophagus too modest, and tumuli, round stone drums fifteen feet or so across topped with a mound of dirt that in some cases had a symbol of male vitality as the crowning touch. Freud would have had a field day with these.
February 14, 2018
Our first stop was the Antalya harbor. What a scenic spot with the docked sailing ships; some were decked out with pirates and mermaids. We were reminded this is the harbor Paul sail from when he had completed his first missionary journey. It was overcast and the view of the mountains across the bay were shrouded with low clouds.
February 13, 2018
After a long day of travel we have finally arrived in Antalya Turkey. The journey started with our group coming from Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. We all met up in Istanbul and then flew together to Antalya. We are looking forward to a good nights rest before we begin our adventure tomorrow.
Continue to follow as we will post daily videos and photos.
January 29, 2018
Our trip to Turkey will be here before you know it!
Once we’re on the ground in Turkey, we’ll post periodic updates and photos. Check back often or get update notifications using the subscribe options on this page.
We’ll be sharing our travel experiences online with you, our friends and family, to not only bring you along on the journey with us, but to also solicit your ongoing prayer and support. Most of us on this trip have been preparing mentally and spiritually for what will be a life-changing experience in the land. We’re also preparing physically as we train our bodies to handle all the time we’ll spend on our feet walking. So please pray that we would be diligent in our preparations and we would all be ready to learn what God has to teach us!